Texas Holdem Setup and Basic Play

This chapter will introduce you to Texas Hold'em, commonly referred to as ' 'Hold'em," the most popular poker game in the world today. The chapter s hould teach you enough to allow you to sit down and play the game without needing to ask your fellow players a lot of what feel like embarrassing questions. (Beginners, by the way, s houldn't feel embarrassed about asking questions; everyone has t o start s omewhere.) Later c hapters wiil guide you through the subtleties of beginning, intermediate, and advanced strategy.

Learning the basic structure, or format, of Texas Hold'em (Hold'em) i s easy. This doesn't mean, t hough, that t here i sn't a great deal of strategy involved: there i s. But the way the game i s constructed is fairly simple, compared with a game like chess, where you must learn how to move many different pieces, or even compared with many wild home poker games, where the rules for a game often take way too long to explain. ( "Seven-

Card Stud, threes and nines are wild, but if you catch a three face up you must match the size of the pot to keep the card or else fold. You can buy an extra card on the end for $20 or replace a card on the end for $10, a nd if you catch a four face up you get an extra card free.")

If you were to walk into a card room or a friend's house to play Texas Hold'em, and hadn't seen Hold'em before, you would want some explanation. But once you understand the pattern of the deal, whose turn it is to bet, how much that player can bet, and what all of t he options are (checking, cailing, betting, raising, and folding) during the play of a hand, then you'l have a solid foundation for understanding t he basic strategy tips you'l find in the later chapters. After reading (and absorbing) t his c hapter, you'l b e able t o i ntroduce Hold'em into your own Saturday night poker game, although I wouldn't recommend playing it for much money until you've learned some strategy!

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